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Emergency Survival Kit For Skiers

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Emergency Survival Kit For Skiers
by Christopher & Aggie

If you are challenged by the odd ski expedition, stretching
your comfort zone, nothing beats advice handed down from those
that have been conquering the mountains before our advancements
of; modern clothing, ski gear, and communication technologies.
We have compiled an emergency survival kit disclosed below,
together for you. The survival kit assumes that the expedition
undertaken is meant to be of short duration, perhaps a whole day
and stranded well, hopefully overnight.

Ice Axe mainly if you travel over glacierized regions, or rugged, iced , mountain terrain. Light weight axes are favoured by ski patrols or trekkers, and are generally shorter in length, have a moderate hooking angle ( angle between the handle and the hook). The shaft and the pick angle is usually 65-70deg This angle is a good balance between, sharper angled axes more suitable for digging into ice, and less acutely angled ones, more suitable for softer snow.

Snow Shovels - broad scoop finished ones are advised, which are more efficient at shifting snow. This feature helps if you're building a cavern, an igloo or when stranded on the wrong side of the mountain ,or camping overnight ,or better still trying to uncover an avalanche victim. In ten minutes of digging one can move 1m or 4 feet of snow. If you were to dig with your hands ,skis and other small accessories it would take you 45min to achieve the same outcome.

Hydration Packs ,nowadays, contoured to follow the spine. Some resemble a dog bone. The vertically insertable water bladder works well in 1.5-3L variety. The most important is a large bladder opening for the ease of cleaning after use .Recently added chemical anti-bacterial treatments to the bladder are also a benefit. Vertically stacked kangaroo pouches are handy if you are running out of pockets in your jacket. I would recommend these hydration packs if your ski adventure exceeds half a day in duration. Neat for extended snow trips.

Emergency rescue beaconsThey operate at 457khz. Most are cup sized, have a life span of 48hrs when activated, and last up to 10 years. Preferably wear one strapped to your body, under the jacket, rather than in the back pack. If you are under an avalanche or in a crevasse this is your only link with the outside world.

Global Positioning System based beacons are a little more sophisticated, operate at 406mhz have more precise satellite tracking which enable localization to within 100metres or 330feet. Low orbital satellites can find you anywhere in the world.

Back Packs - go for water proof fabrics. Decide on the capacity of the pack , usually expressed in cubic inches or litres. For trans-continental travellers I recommend 80 litre or 50000 cubic inches. This size usually accommodates all the clothing well. Perhaps
more suited if you are gearing up for longer excursions. Look
for waist and back straps. Vertical reinforcement helps as well.
For daily trips scale their capacity down to 20litres.

Matches or Lighter can help if you are close to trees, and need to warm up to keep your body temperature up, or if you need to melt some water for drinking.

Whistle can be very useful when calling for help
,especially when exhausted and the howling winds try to muffle

Flashlight or head mounted lamp - most places in the northern hemisphere experience winter sunset around 4 pm. Some of the deep valley resorts get sunset at 3.30pm.Consider Lithium operated batteries as this is the only type where the voltage remains constant throughout different temperatures. It's as efficient at minus 18deg Celsius(zero Fahrenheit) as at room temperature.

Avalanche Probe -this is an extendable pole, somewhat like an antenna, which can be planted at your distress site. A lot of them are made of autofluorescent plastic, some have reflectors mounted. This helps the rescue party with locating you.

First Aid kit - preassembled versions are readily available through mountaineering shops. They mostly carry band aids, swabs, elastic matts, bandages, sterile gauze and eye straps and if your friend is a para-medico or a medico, anti-inflammatories such as Ibuprofen or much stronger Dexamethasone and diuretics such as Acetazolamide or Diamox.

Repair Kit -Swiss knife, sticky tape, wire, few binding screws -primarily there for bindings repair.

Food Pack - have energy bars, dried fruit and meats, nuts, or pressure sealed food which will not decompose.

Mobile Phones are of some help, if you can get coverage where you are skiing. The technological developments in this area are merging and evolving so quickly perhaps this will become the replacement to the beacon in the not so distant future.

Maps and compasses useful particularly if you are on extended trips. Be mindful of the limitations of the compass depending on geological mountain composition around you. The true north could be elsewhere.

Regards, christopher We have travelled the world on our quest for snow. As a result have covered quite few countries and continents and would like to share our experiences with you. A personal look at ski travel and adventures that follow.

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